Most of my recent blogs are inspired by the debates and discussions in my class and consequentially this article also has its roots from my class’s current discussion on how Supply Chain Management can become a competitive advantage for its owner. Various famous supply chain examples like MC Donald’s Cold Chain, ITC Choupal etc found their presence in the discussion.
The discussion left out of one of the latest logistic management employed by Essar Steel in transporting iron ore which brought down the cost of transportation of iron ore from Rs 550 per tonne to Rs 80 per tonne. The project is implemented at a small tribal area named Kirandul (a small town mainly houses NMDC colony and is situated in southern parts of Chattisgarh) hence not surprisingly the project is much talked about.
The project connects Bailadilla mines in Kirandul to Vishakhapatnam (a city with a sea port) steel plant of Essar with a 267 km pipeline. Iron Ore mined at the mines of Bailadilla is first crushed into smaller sizes and then is converted into slurry using water. This slurry is then pumped from the mine end of the pipeline which is intermittently re-pumped at three different spots between Kirandul and Vishkhapatnam in order to maintain the flow of the slurry. The slurry received at the other end is fed to a dryer plant and the iron ore is received. The water removed from the slurry is pumped back from Vishkhapatnam to Kirandul via the pipeline which is reused for the pumping and slurry making purpose near the mines.
The project has provided a competitive cost advantage to Essar Steel against its competitors like Tata Steel which still continue to use the normal mode of transportation trucks. The project has made the sourcing of iron ore from Kirandul more viable for Essar Steel operating at about 300 km far from raw material source as against Weber’s theory which suggests to setup manufacturing units near source of raw material for which the total transportation cost is high.